Faults of Presidential Debates – Insights from the Wilderness #117

Faults of Presidential DebatesWhen political candidates debate on national television, they can disagree with one another, but they have to be reasonably truthful because the media “fact checkers” love to catch politician’s passing out an out-and-out lie. It boosts their syndicated ratings for the next week to ten days. You can get away with stretching the truth a bit, but you can’t actually lie. You’ll get caught, and that’s not a good thing.

The second insight I learned is you can sound like a broken record saying the same thing over and over with out any facts to back up what you’re saying, but you have to be reasonably civil in the process. You can’t sound like a total jerk. Again, that’s not a good thing.

I didn’t agree with everything they said, but the presidential candidates did model a reasonable example of how to run for public office. I came away from the debates with a somewhat better idea as to the ideas, and the vision, that each candidate is offering for the next four years. I tried to remind myself that I’m not supposed to agree with everything they say all the time. That’s why we have elections in a democracy.

But I have to admit I was a bit concerned that global warming, the rapidly melting ice caps and glaciers, nor the financial problems in Europe, came up for discussion. They probably talked about those subjects when I was refilling my glass of wine and grabbing another piece of pizza.

Anyway, the third insight that came out of this year’s election process was an eye opener.

I learned that when a politician’s political party runs a political ad on television, or in the newspaper, it’s a “no holds barred” event. Civility and truth are no longer honored or enforced. Character assignation is totally acceptable, and facts can be distorted to the point they become “one upon a time” fairy tales. That’s a nice way to say that extreme distortions of reality in the real world are called lies.

It crossed my mind that perhaps all politicians, especially those running for local office should also be required to publically debate on local television. That way we would get a reasonably accurate picture of what they stand for in our communities. We’d be better informed.

I was going with that thought until a friend offered another suggestion that I think is even better!

He suggested that every candidate running for public office should be given a list of 20 questions relevant to the office he or she is seeking. Then they should have to write a single, one page response to each question. When finished, their answers to the 20 questions should be officially published for voters to read.

That way, when they come up for re-election, each candidate could be given a report card grade on how well they actually did, or at least tried to do, compared to what they said they would do, when answering the 20 questions.

But here is where his idea became brilliant.

After publishing all the candidate’s answers to the 20 questions, the estimated 6 billion dollars our politicians and their supporters spent on advertising in this 2012 election—-distorting the facts, and demonizing their opponents because they had the audacity to think differently——could have been used to feed the poor, given to our schools, or spent on green energy research—–well, you get the point. That was six “B”illion!

Not only would the money go to a good cause, it would also eliminate the obscene amount of money that individuals and corporations bankroll to the candidates and their political parties in each election—–so they can quietly buy the candidates, and thereby insure that their financial agendas are protected, and their personal wealth continues to increase, for another two to four years.

I guess that pretty well wraps up my thoughts and insights for this years election.

On a personal note, these ideas would return our television viewing back to interesting hair product commercials, and significantly reduce the wear and tear on my email delete key. Trashing two or three hundred political requests for money every morning takes a lot of time. I would get an extra hour of sleep, and I’d save on coffee expenses trying to stay alert so I wouldn’t accidently delete that one important email—-the one that contains the coupon that saves me $9.95 on my next oil change.

The insights gained from watching the presidential debates clearly come under the category of true “rocket science”—–right!?

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